The spinal cord consists of a large collection of nerves that convey messages between your brain and the other parts of your body. It is protected by circular bones known as the vertebrae. These bones comprise your spinal column. Diving accidents can inflict major trauma to the spine. A spine board is an important device used to move a patient when there is a possibility of a spinal cord injury. They are used in conjunction with head immobilizers to stabilize the patient’s body. This combination effectively reduces the occurrence of inflammation and further injuries. It is estimated that up to one-quarter of spinal cord injuries are the result of inadequate neck stabilization.
A spinal cord injury can cause symptoms that range from incontinence to total paralysis. A back injury is not synonymous with a spinal cord injury. The signs and symptoms will vary based upon the location and extent of the injury. Spinal cord injuries are categorized as complete and incomplete. A complete injury obstructs all neurological functions below the location of the injury. A patient with an incomplete injury will have some level of function below that point.
Trauma to the cervical region can affect the patient’s breathing, heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure. Injuries to this area can cause quadriplegia. Trauma to the thoracic region does not involve the neck, hands and arms. The location of the injury will determine if the abdominal muscles are affected. Injuries to this area can cause paraplegia. Trauma to the lumbosacral region affects the control of your legs, hips, anus and genitourinary system. Injuries to this area can cause sexual dysfunction, urinary and fecal incontinence.
You can reduce the potential of neurological disability with the use of neck stabilizing equipment, such as the Velcro head immobilizer.